"This is his ninth year," King recently said on his website. "A lot of times a coach gets to be in his ninth, 10th, 11th year in a place and he starts to feel a little bit of wanderlust, he starts to feel, 'Are they still listening to my voice, are they still getting my message?' "
Nick Underhill of The Advocate doesn't see a coach who has lost his team during this disappointing campaign. "If anything, players are often eager to relay the message they are being told that week or to cite a statistic Payton presented in a meeting," Underwhill wrote this week. "That doesn't sound like a coach who no longer has the ear of his team."
It's worth noting that Payton is signed through the 2017 season. We wouldn't be stunned to see him leave New Orleans long before that contract expires -- for just the reasons King noted -- but this year's underwhelming Saints still have a shot at the playoffs. It's worth seeing where this campaign goes first.